We’ve been exploring Psalm 23 and the rich image it presents of shepherds and sheep. In the first four verses, David describes what a good shepherd does for his sheep. He provides everything they need and seeks out places of rest for them. He leads them in the best paths; and even when those paths go into valleys filled with shadows, he never deserts his sheep. He draws them close with his staff and defends them from predators with his rod. And this is the comfort of those first four verses: we are His sheep and He is our Good Shepherd. Truly, we have everything we need in Him.
In verse five, however, David suddenly shifts to a new image. In this picture, we are no longer vulnerable sheep. We are guests at a banquet!
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Can you imagine the scene? God Himself sets a banquet right in front of His enemies. He is there as the victor, the champion. The enemies are looking on—but they are without power to harm. They are defeated foes. And we are there at His invitation to be honored and vindicated as His people. He anoints us with oil as a sign of His special favor. It is a beautiful picture of acceptance, of victory, of celebration, and of joy.
Think of what this means to us as we live our lives today. Though we are surrounded by enemies that press in and desire to harm us, we need to remember that they are defeated foes. Through His death on the cross, Christ has conquered every enemy—even the last enemy, death—and we have nothing to fear from anyone. In Christ, we sit joyfully at an abundant feast set before us by our heavenly King. And as 1 Peter 2:9 declares, we are even now “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” We are marked by the anointing of His Spirit. We belong to Him. And He is not ashamed to welcome us as His own.
Is it any wonder David says our cups overflow? We cannot contain all the goodness and mercy He continually pours out upon us. And as if that is not enough, David says it will never end.
He says that all this “goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” We will be pursued by His goodness and love all the days of our lives, not just the good ones. And when our lives here are over, we will dwell with our Good Shepherd, our Victorious King forever in His home. What more could we ever want?
Dear friend, if you have not yet asked Jesus to be your Good Shepherd, ask Him today. Pray that He will make you His own, that He will care for you, lead you, protect you and provide for you in every way. For the Lord says in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you …”
Blessings on your day!